Prosecutors miss deadline, charges dropped against 3 in 'filthy' compound case

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"To say this was embarrassing to the prosecution is an enormous understatement", he said.

Prosecutors wrote in court documents that new interviews with some of the children taken from the site revealed that one of the adults, Lucas Morton, stated he wished to die in jihad as a martyr, and that defendants Jany Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj joked about dying in jihad. The remaining two adults are still being held on charges connected to the death of a 3-year-old boy. In total, authorities arrested five adults and rescued 11 children from the compound. Authorities alleged the children were emaciated and clothed in rags.

The rule was revised in 2016 to state that violations will result in dismissal of the charges without prejudice, meaning they can be refiled. Backus, who said she was bound by judicial ethics to order that the defendants be given a limited release, was the target of a sustained harassment campaign that prompted security officials to lock down the courthouse for an afternoon after she received death threats. While Backus ordered all five suspects to be released to house arrest and with other strict conditions including Global Positioning System monitoring, they all remained in custody because they were not able to meet the requirements. Vigil testified he was unable to make arrangements for tracking the five defendants in the case because they faced housing issues.

District Judge Emilio Chavez reportedly said that prosecutors did not move fast enough, according to the state's laws.

"The judge's hands were tied because the rules are very clear", Kostich said.

Wahhaj and his partner, Jany Leveille, have been charged with child abuse resulting in death.

Subhanah Wahhaj, left, sits with attorney Megan Mitsunaga during a hearing in a Taos courtroom Wednesday.

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They were due in court Wednesday afternoon and are accused of child abuse resulting in death - charges that could carry life sentences in connection with the death of the 3-year-old.

The two suspects are accused of neglecting to provide proper medicine and health care to the boy, and other children from the compound allegedly told police that he was subjected to rituals to cast out demons.

The boy's mother initially reported him missing past year from Jonesboro, Georgia, after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he was taking the child to a park and didn't return.

Prosecutors now have the choice to refill the charges, or seek a grand jury indictment against them.

In court filings submitted Wednesday immediately before the hearings, Taos-based District Attorney Donald Gallegos renewed accusations that Wahhaj and Leveille represented a danger to the public and requested they be jailed without bail pending trial. But McElroy swiftly upheld the previous ruling, saying the attorneys had failed to produce sufficient evidence. "But it's certainly an terrible setback for the prosecutors and the public in New Mexico".

A handout photo made available by Taos County Sheriff's Office shows the booking photo of Siraj Wahhaj issued on August 05 2018.Jany Leveille sits in court during a hearing on August 13, 2018, in Taos, N.M. Since the defendants were expected to get out of jail on a non-monetary bond, Lovelace said, prosecutors assumed that they had 60 days - the maximum for a defendant who's out of custody - to hold a preliminary hearing.

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